Jul 22, 2021

Right before shmitta maybe Lieberman is good for the Jews!

According to Reuters, the Finance Ministry has now published its plan to lower the prices of fresh produce by opening up the system for more imports - cutting import duties and opening it up for competition.

Israeli farmers have benefited until now by being protected from competition with imports tightly limited, quotas enforced (such as on egg production) and various subsidies. According to the ministry in recent years prices of fresh produce have increased by upwards of 80%. This year summer fruit have been notably expensive. Whenever prices go up they give excuses of water shortages, temperature fluctuations, unusual rain patterns, etc... yet it seems the prices just keep going up. the Israeli farmer has been protected while the consumer has not been.

In my opinion, competition is always good (for the consumer). By limiting the competition, the Israeli consumer has been limited in what it could buy and has had to pay a high price for it. Competition will force Israeli farmers to compete, to innovate and to produce even better produce and to make the prices more competitive.

But my question is, the origin of the hetter mechira for shmittta was, and is, that the Israeli farmers need to be protected for the security of the country. If the State is going to stop protecting the farmers in all other ways by opening imports and no longer propping them up, is the hetter mechira still relevant? And I am asking as someone who is not anti-hetter mechira. If the State decides that we no longer need to protect farmers, we don't need that agricultural security any longer, perhaps the hetter and need for hetter mechira also go away as it too was based on protecting the farmers.

While I wonder about my question, this opening up for imports is good news for those shmitta observant who prefer non-Jewish produced produce. Good timing. Maybe Lieberman si good for the Jews after all!

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  1. Here is the likely reason that the Chief Rabbis are against the Kashrus reforms:
    From Arutz Sheva: Omer Rahamin, a parliamentary aide to MK Bezalel Smotrich said:
    “Maybe the haredi MKs are worried that these reforms are the start of slippery slope to rid the State of Israel of all of its Jewish aspects”

    I think that this is the main reason for the opposition of the Chareidim to the Kashrus reforms.

    1. Nonsense. They're opposed because they run the Rabbinate, no more, no less.

      Why Smotrich feels obligated to defend them is beyond me.


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